Letters: What patriotism looks like on a dark Fourth of July

Letters: What patriotism looks like on a dark Fourth of July

What patriotism looks like on a dark Fourth of July

It pains me to write this, but after 67 years I did something I had never done before. After raising the flag at my home on the morning of Independence Day, I paused, lowered it and then raised it again with the field of stars at the bottom. According to the Federal Flag Code, this indicates “dire distress.” There is no more accurate description of the current condition of America than this. And as I watched the Independence Day fireworks, I wondered, was this a celebration of freedom or merely symbolic of a society blowing itself apart?

Guy Wroble, Denver

I had every intention of leaving my United States flag flying outside my house until sunset on the Fourth of July. I had every intention of teaching my children what Independence Day means. I had every intention of being a proud and patriotic American for my entire life.

Shortly after I read a news article about Jayland Walker suffering over 60 bullet wounds in Akron, Ohio, breaking news informed me that a parade in Illinois was just the latest example of how we celebrate our Second Amendment rights in this country. These two moments in time, amid a backdrop provided by the recent Supreme Court decision, unfurled to appease a national religious minority, left me (finally) with no choice but to remove my flag from my house.

I didn’t take the decision lightly, but the America my grandparents fought for on the beaches of Western Europe and in Italy is no longer here. The United States my father served while in the Air Force stationed in Germany is no longer here either. The America where I grew up is just a memory now, unable to rectify or face its ugly past and also unable to provide an acceptable version of The American Dream to a vast majority of its constituents.

I can not and will not teach my children that it is OK for guns to have more rights than people.

No longer proud or patriotic,

Lyle Cable, Castle Rock

Debating Trump’s legacy for better or worse

Re: “Deprogramming the cult of Trump,” July 3 commentary

I take exception to Bret L. Stephens’ opinion about who the perpetrators were during the Jan. 6th insurrection. He describes them as “ a mix of enthusiastic patriots, a few hooligans who got out of hand and probably a few antifa provocateurs.”

Really? In true conservative fashion he sugar-coated the violent, militant Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, some who showed up in body armor, carrying weapons and chanting “hang Mike Pence.” Several of his so-called “enthusiastic patriots” have been arrested and will serve time for their participation in an event that rocked our world, all while conservatives continue to excuse the Jan. 6th insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.”

Nancy Rife, Wheat Ridge

The New York Times has a new angle: Trump Cult. Is that anything like Trump collusion or Trump impeachment?

Would a cultist be thankful …

• that Trump inflation was 1.5% and not 8.9%.

• for lower taxes.

• for powerful stock market growth.

• for lower crime and stronger police protection.

• that President Trump confronted China to pay their fair share in trade or pay the consequences.

• for protecting our borders from drugs and cartels and criminals.

• that President Trump confronted our neighbors Canada and Mexico to pay their fair share in trade to our deficit.

• for lower food and gasoline prices.

• that President Trump confronted Germany to pay their fair share in NATO.

Regarding the Jan. 6 hearings, the Democrats are jumping up and down over White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Come to find out, her testimony about whether Trump laid hands on a member of his Secret Service team is second- and third-hand info. According to columnist Bret Stephens, she may be lying or stretching facts, but she was under oath. The Jan. 6 committee is like Russian collusion; it will never end.

I believe the only long-term cults are the “Democrat Swamp” and short-term “Wokeism.”

The Trump presidency was the strongest in the last 15 years and arguably back as far as Ronald Reagan. The country needs serious help and leadership.

Hank Urbanowicz, Englewood

Of all the bizarre opinions about Donald Trump, one stands out as repeatedly, solidly off-target: that anything he says should ever be taken at face value as the truth.

Bret Stephens is right that Trump’s followers can be portrayed as cult-like. But could any reasonable person ever mistake Donald Trump for a cult leader like David Koresh or Jim Jones? Would he ever sacrifice his life for a cause? Captain Bone Spurs? It’s unimaginable. He’d surely sacrifice yours! But never his.

Trump will go down in history not as a cult leader but as the world’s most ruthless con man. Everything he does and says is to perpetuate the con that enriches him and empowers him alone. His con got him to the White House, incredibly. Consider his pro-life followers as an example. When asked directly by a reporter whether any woman he’d been involved with had an abortion, he quickly dodged the question. His Supreme Court choices are clearly tainted, cynical, politically-calculated ploys to cement Republican power.

One must remember that what’s critical when in the presence of a con man is to take a quick look around. If you can’t identify the mark, the mark is you.

David Iverson, Denver

Keep the religious establishment out of state

Re: “Shattered trust in Supreme Court will undermine every ruling,” July 3 commentary

Megan Schrader’s commentary paints the Supreme Court with questions regarding its motives and impartiality. She is absolutely correct in positing that the court is being led in the direction of unforgiving right-wing religiosity. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion reeks of mangling the establishment clause of the First Amendment. I recall memorizing the word antidisestablishmentarianism in school. None of us knew what it meant, but it sounded so good rolling off the tongue.

The word emerged in 19th century Great Britain indicating opposition to the disestablishment of the state church or the established church — i.e., the church should not receive government patronage, and churches should not be disestablished. It seems like Gorsuch is leaning towards being the vanguard of antidisestablishmentarianism.

Fun word, say it again. Unfortunately it can be of dire consequences to our republic. It can herald the beginning of an intolerant theocracy. Schrader’s speculation that had there been a Muslim or Jew praying in the center of that field, the reaction and the outcome would, to our great shame, have been entirely different. Recent court rulings place the spotlight on the five ultra-conservative Christian judges who are galloping us toward the brink.

Bob Bonacci, Littleton

The loss of Tri-County Health will be acute

Re: “The demise of Tri-County Health could be hazardous to your wallet,” July 3 commentary

I am a former executive director at Tri-County Health Department. Mark Harden’s commentary was right on target. For many of its 70-plus years, Tri-County was recognized locally and nationally for its depth and breadth of public health expertise. The cooperative efforts of the three counties allowed each to have access to the highest level of skill, resources and experience at a bargain price. At various times during those 70 years, a county would consider leaving the district. To their credit, they carefully analyzed the pros and cons and concluded that the three counties working together was the best and most cost-effective option.

The goal of public health policies is to do what is most protective for the whole community. That often means some shared sacrifice. The Tri-County Board of Health based its pandemic policy decisions on thoughtful debate reflecting science and the experience of its capable staff in collaboration with state and federal experts. Those decisions may have ignored “the will of elected county officials,” but they also saved lives.

In responding to their critics, it’s clear that the elected officials let their egos get in the way of good sense by making the decision to dismantle a premier local public health agency because they thought they knew better than their appointed board. Sadly, the people of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties will soon learn what happens when the will of the elected officials brings myriad unintended consequences of their hasty decision.

Chris J. Wiant, Denver

Editor’s note: Wiant served at Tri-County Health for 16 years, three years as the executive director (1997-2000).

Crisis pregnancy centers are not really helping

Re: “Stop vandalizing churches and crisis pregnancy centers,” July 3 commentary

“In 2019 alone, these centers provided 1.85 million people with $267 million worth of free services”.

Do the math. That’s about $144 a piece in services. That’s an ultrasound and a box of diapers.

I don’t condone vandalism either, but to pretend that crisis pregnancy centers are anything approaching a solution is a bad joke.

Steve Caplan, Durango

A small reward for Avs fans

Witnessing thousands of ecstatic, faithful and growing numbers of Avalanche fans celebrate the team’s great Stanley Cup win “rubs salt in the wounds” of all loyal Denver-area fans as we head into next NHL season denied the earned and deserved dividend of watching the games on TV. However, it will never be unless the Kroenke Kingdom comes to a true, honest negotiation with Comcast for an agreement to broadcast.

Surely, after all these years of loyal fans doing without, the team owners have shown sufficiently they can afford this small gift.

Larry Meeks, Lakewood

Midterm danger

Re: “More than 1M switch to GOP … ,” June 28 news story

I’ve seen this scenario before. After the GOP nearly wrecked the economy in 2008, President Barack Obama and the Democrats couldn’t fix the economy fast enough for fickle voters, so they fell for typical GOP fear-mongering and lost seats to the GOP in the midterms, thus stalling the recovery.

I opt to give the Democrats a full four years to fix this mess. The thought of putting this current GOP back in power after the debacle of Donald Trump and his enablers makes it an easy choice.

Gerry Camilli, Englewood

Boebert is wrong … again

It had been nearly a week since Rep. Lauren Boebert uttered an inaccurate offensive statement, so I should have known it was time for this misguided individual to strike again. Boebert said regarding the Denmark shooting that it was proof that gun control doesn’t work.

This was Denmark’s first mass shooting since 2015. Contrast this with our country, where nearly every weekend shootings surpass the number that occurred in Denmark in seven years.

Unlike the U.S., Denmark has made an all-out effort to keep its citizens safe from gun violence.

David Ryan, Montrose

We need bike security

The only way to prevent bike theft is never to leave your bike unattended. Getting the police up to authorized strength will not affect the high number of bike thefts. I don’t ever want to have to recover my bike. Therefore I never leave it unattended.

Bicycle stands are outside of buildings where anyone can quickly break a lock and get away with a bike in no time. They are often close to the street, away from buildings. Locking a bike outside is not in any way secure.

I recently saw a man walking his bicycle through a grocery store as he shopped. That is the only way you can go into a store and keep your bike safe. Our retail establishments need to have in-store spaces where bicycles can be locked.

They need to be in plain view and really don’t need to be very large.

I gladly would ride my bike to the store if I knew I could safely lock my bike. I have an e-bike with a basket that would be great for a quick run to the store. Right now that is impossible. I won’t risk it being stolen. Riding a bike for a quick errand makes so much sense, but it needs to be a whole lot more inviting and secure.

Nancy P. Linnet, Golden

Bonnie Brae is history

Re: “Preservation vs. change,” July 6 news story

As a longtime Bonnie Brae resident, I had to chuckle at your online headline about development in the neighborhood.

There is no “tug-of-war between preservation and development.” Development won long ago, when residents looking to cash in stopped an effort to gain historic designation for Bonnie Brae. So instead of “completion in the 1950s,” Bonnie Brae is in a constant state of demolition and construction. By my count, there are currently 17 scrapes in Bonnie Brae. An architect who grew up in the neighborhood in the ’40s told me that Bonnie Brae may be the first white Denver neighborhood to be gentrified. Hard to argue with him.

Dan Danbom, Denver

Strongest candidates should get our votes

Re: “Bennet attacked by left and right,” July 3 news story

The Democratic Socialists of America who attacked U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet are why I became an independent voter. Bennet was correct to ask, “How is it possible we ever allowed Donald Trump to become president of the United States?”

When Sen. Bernie Sanders lost the primary bid in 2016, bitter Sanders supporters did not vote, giving the White House to Trump. They weren’t just “asleep at the wheel.” They chose to drive the bus into a ditch.

Before the DSA pulls out of the election (again), the group has a responsibility to scrutinize the Republican candidate Joe O’Dea. The Democratic support of any Republican candidate in the hopes of finding a weak one undermines the party’s faith in its own candidate. That is why I voted for Joe O’Dea, because I want a strong competitive race and think this will be one. “Stolen Election” is not on the table, thank goodness!

Renee Farrar, Lakewood

Vote to stop discrimination

Inflation! Crime! It appears to be the most concerning problem for Republicans this election. Indeed, these are important issues. However, inflation comes and goes, and crime ebbs and flows. But the endemic of discrimination and inequality is constant.

I’m an unaffiliated voter, and my number one voting issue is equality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous words: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” So when Republican politicians discriminate against any person or group, they discriminate against every person and group.

Naturally, the “conservative” Supreme Court’s decision to regulate a woman’s body and Florida’s law to vanquish people in the LBGTQ community is discrimination and repels me. These laws will harm women and members of the LGBTQ community, but to what extent? To understand how these laws will affect these communities, I suggest researchers use Republicans’ favorite boogey theory, critical race theory (CRT).

CRT uses robust research to examine laws and policies implicated in producing disparities. Originally, CRT was used to expose racist laws and procedures designed to harm African-Americans. However, CRT evolved to include other marginalized groups. CRT uses the voices and experiences of oppressed people to understand how criminal justice, education, employment, environmental and medical systems produce disparities in their communities.

So, instead of voting for politicians who distract us with fleeting problems like inflation and crime, let’s vote for people who are committed to solving issues that permanently stain the United States, such as discrimination, inequality and oppression.

Tyrone S. Braxton, Denver

Some words of warning

Next time you look at the picture on a $20 bill, remember what that man said 200 years ago.

“All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.” — Andrew Jackson

Mike Enright, Lakewood

You can vote for universal background checks

This nation has witnessed more than 300 mass shootings in this calendar year.

Many, including this latest during a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, Ill., likely would have been prevented by a universal background check for gun buyers.

A vast majority of Americans support this concept. However, legislation to that effect continually is blocked in the U.S. Senate by the imposition of the filibuster by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, acting on behalf of the National Rifle Association.

The filibuster must be relegated to the dumpster of history. Ironically, a dumpster was a place of safety where a desperate parent placed his children during the carnage Monday.

In the upcoming election Nov. 8, voters will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they love people more than guns and more than an archaic device used to oppose universal background checks and other serious gun safety legislation in Congress.

The failure to do so will mean Americans have accepted mass shootings as a part of their celebration of Independence Day.

Frank Tapy, Denver

Our gun problem

Mass shootings are far too common, unacceptable and almost uniquely American. However, the same can be said for all types of gun violence in America, of which mass shootings represent a shockingly small percentage of firearm homicides.

Just think about that. As tragic and pervasive as mass shootings are, most gunshot victims are killed in other situations: gang violence, domestic abuse, suicide, accidental shootings, road rage incidents, bar fights, etc.

I urge people to keep this in mind as they continue to scapegoat mental health for gun violence. Although this surely plays a role in mass shootings, it cannot be blamed for the hundreds of other shootings that happen every day.

Instead, the common thread between all shootings is easy access to dangerous weapons, loose regulations on education and storage, and a gun culture that treats guns as toys and objects you must have accessible at all times.

Until we address the broader issue of our gun problem, we can’t begin to address mass shootings.

Nicole Loisi, Denver

Dialing a Lifeline

Re: “Are you suffering a mental health crisis? Dial 9-8-8 starting July 16 for help,” July 6 commentary

A couple of points regarding state Sen. Chris Kolker’s commentary on the new 988 suicide hotline.

1) It is a national initiative. 2) Before July 16, when it goes live, please use the current Lifeline phone number: 1-800-273-8255 for help.

This number will continue to be active after 988 is launched.

Philip Brien Clarke, Lone Tree

Look out for our local retailers

Last week I walked into our local King Soopers. There was a table set up with an attendant and a petition asking customers to sign on for selling wine in grocery stores. Five years ago, grocery stores were allowed to start selling full-strength beer, thus, impacting our local liquor stores’ beer sales.

If people wonder why our local businesses are struggling and closing, this is one big reason. Large corporate businesses have aisles of what we used to find in small businesses and in shopping center shops: toys, cards, gifts, flowers, sportswear, beer, etc.

I walked away feeling concerned — and angry. How will our few local liquor stores, and other small businesses, survive if the large corporations overtake more of our locally owned and operated small businesses? Even though these large grocery stores were built to provide our groceries, there is less and less customer service. How much more money do major grocery corporations need while they spend billions on stock buybacks but pay for fewer and fewer customer service personnel?

Janet Johnson, Golden

Idea for TABOR refunds

Re: “Checks will be at least $750,” June 22 news story

I hereby challenge my fellow Colorado taxpayers to put their money — in this case, the upcoming TABOR refund — where their values are. Contribute that $750 to local organizations that work to address affordable housing, homelessness or addiction.

These are quality of life issues, not only for people in need but for ever neighborhood impacted by crime and encampments.

R. Norman, Wheat Ridge

Our embattled police

Re: “Lack of law enforcement and communication in Denver,” June 18 letter to the editor

Responding to the letter on the lack of police attention to shoplifting and an abandoned car, remember the “Defund the Police” movement. What can you expect after the riots and destruction during the pandemic with little accountability?

Kay Robbins, Denver

State should field NWSL team

It is past time that Colorado created a National Women’s Soccer League team. The NWSL has been a successful league for 9 years, and Colorado touts our reputation as a leader in women’s and girls’ sports.

The success of the friendly match between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Colombia on June 25 should be all the proof we need — Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was sold out, and hundreds of fans came to the game hours early to just watch the team warm-up.

At least four of the players on the U.S. team are from Colorado but must play for other cities’ teams: Mallory Pugh plays for Chicago, Sophia Smith (who scored two goals in the game) plays for Portland, Jaelin Howell plays for Louisville and Lindsey Horan plays in France.

Let’s create a home team for these women and our future generations of Colorado soccer players. We are obviously a state that loves sports, and it is clear that our Colorado pride would support a great women’s squad. We have the infrastructure already, and the Rapids could use some friendly competition. Maybe the Waltons or the Anschutzs could invest.

Kristen Boysen, Denver

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